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Local Air Force veteran searches for kidney donor

McELHATTAN — Facing the prospect of daily dialysis treatments, local Air Force veteran and Clinton County native Tom Allen is looking for a kidney donor.

The 78-year-old who resides in McElhattan was diagnosed with kidney disease 10 years ago and has since done his best to avoid such an outcome. However, in June doctor’s said he is nearing stage 5 of the disease and would ultimately need treatments and replacement of the organ.

Tom’s wife Sue has been looking for a donor, handing out fliers and posting them in the community, with little luck.

“We had two possible donors. But they were denied after filling out the application,” Sue said.

Now, the couple are turning to the community to see if there may be willing and eligible donors.

Tom is on waiting lists for two local healthcare agencies — Geisinger and UPMC — with a possible surgery expected to take place in Geisinger.

A donor would have to go Geisinger for the surgery, which would take place the same time as Tom’s surgery to ensure a successful transfer.

Tom noted that his insurance could help cover not only his medical expenses, but possibly the donors as well. Sue added that there are multiple agencies and assistance that Geisinger can offer a donor and someone who may come to Danville along with them.

Tom is type O positive. According to the American Red Cross, this blood type is compatible with types A+, B+, O+, AB+.

Those who are eligible to donate must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old and pass an extensive round of testing following an application.

Tom is currently on a wait list too, but was told by his doctor that it is about a five year wait. The doctor suggested he and his wife seek out a living donor.

Sue noted that, if someone is accepted by Geisinger but isn’t a match for Tom, they have program that would give them the opportunity to donate to another person in need. This would move Tom up the list.

“It’s a great program,” she said.

For Tom, a new kidney could offer him a better quality of life.

The retired FAA flight coordinator who once ferried planes across the world, said he used to be extremely active. From doing yardwork around his home, hunting, fishing and more he was always busy.

In recent years, due to the disease, his energy has waned to the point where he sleeps about 13 to 14 hours a day.

“You just feel so tired,” Tom said.

Tom and Sue hope that a willing donor may come to their aide, and offer him the chance to re-energize and get back to his full life.

Those who are interested in donating have two options to apply.

If you’d like to sign up anonymously, you can visit https://www.geisinger.org/patient-care/conditions-treatments-specialty/kidney-transplant to fill out an online application. Sue said you could have the option to fill the form out with your name or without.

For those who have questions, they can email Tom at tallen45992038@comcast.net.

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